Massachusetts received a “D” grade on the presence of lead in our public schools’ drinking water in a report released by environmental groups last week. It is unacceptable that our state laws were deemed inadequate to prevent school drinking water from being contaminated with lead.
In order to give our schoolchildren greater access to safe drinking water, I have filed An Act relative to water bottle filling stations in public schools. This bill would create a $2 million grant program for public schools to install water bottle filling stations, which can include filters that remove lead and copper from the water.
I was inspired to file this legislation after learning about a Concord initiative, led by advocate Janet Rothrock, that brought bottle filling stations to public parks, and the Healthy Kids Healthy Schools public health campaign in Washington State, which included a similar bottle filling station grant program.
Because bottle filling stations engage more students than traditional water fountains, they promote hydration while discouraging the consumption of sugary beverages that lead to many health and dental problems. This bill would make it easier for our students to develop healthy drinking habits while having access to safe drinking water.
If you would like more information on this important bill, feel free to contact my office at the State House.